Friday, August 31, 2012

Kitchen Curtains

At the beginning of August, my husband and I decided to reorganize the kitchen a little bit. In so doing, we went through our kitchen cabinets and realized we really needed a change. You see, our kitchen has open cabinets. No doors. We found what might have once been the cabinet doors in the shed out back, but they were in bad shape, so they didn't stay.

The previous owners had painted the shelves and put a decorative edge on the shelves. They also put a chicken wallpaper border along the inside of the bottom shelves. We thought it was cute, and so simply gave the shelves a new coat of paint and used them as is.

However, this month, as we were cleaning things out, we realized that it wasn't really that grand of an arrangement. The top shelves (which contain things rarely used) were extremely dusty, greasy, and sticky. Being uncovered all the time allows excess dust and the grease from the stove to accumulate. We had to thourougly clean everything up there and reconsider the open cabinet idea.

Curtains! It was a quick and inexpensive fix. We decided that the chicken/rooster motif was a good way to go, so we found a bolt of fabric (we bought what was left of it) with appropriate fowl and some inexpensive curtain rods. I measured and then set to work.

And now, here we have a lovely set of chicken curtains to cover the kitchen cabinets, still showing off the wallpaper that was laid in the bottom shelves. There is a border around the rest of our kitchen with little country houses. But it's faded and peeling. So we decided that one day, we are going to tear that down and find some sunflowers to go around the top. They will go nicely with the sunflowers in the curtains and balance things out. But for now, I'm content to admire my chickens over the cupboards.

August Finishes

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Simple Pleasures

I told you about our basement project. One thing I didn't mention was that our laundry room was being shifted as well. My father-in-law saw to it that I wasn't without a washing machine for more than a few days. As soon as he could get the water lines moved, he had my washer all hooked up and running.

Some of you are now wondering, "But what about the dryer?" For me, that wasn't a problem. No, I don't have my dryer hooked up right now. My father-in-law still has to drill the new hole for the vent, and wire in the appropriate kind of outlet for my dryer to plug into. But it's not a problem because it is summer. And in the summer, I like to use my clothes line.

I remember last year, as I was leaving my aunt's house I said, "I should go. I have clothes to take down from the line." My aunt, looking quite surprised said, "Is there something wrong with your dryer?" I laughed, "No, I just really like to use the clothes line." To which my aunt responded, "You must like to torture yourself, then."

Really, it's no torture. I find that my laundry gets done a bit more regular, and they make it from wash to dry to FOLDED and put away faster than if I'm using the dryer. It's really easy to get several loads of laundry done and just pile the clean clothes in the baskets. But when it's on the line, I have to take it down and bring it in. It's not the same as grabbing the whole wad of clothes out of the dryer and leaving it for a week. I have to handle each piece and shake it out (who wants box elder bugs in their dresser?), so I might as well fold it, too.

And I do. I fold my laundry as I take it down from the line. It seems better than hauling it in and leaving it. I already have to handle it. Why not do it all at once?

But it's not just the fact that it gets folded right off the line. I really love the way line dried clothes SMELL. It is so fresh. And on a hot day, as I walk through the lines, it's just peaceful and cool there, between the damp clothes. Almost like when I was a little kid and you have that one quiet, secret place, undisturbed if for only a minute...

Okay, so it might be crazy. But when we bought the house I was so excited to see the clothes line. I use it every spring/summer/fall for as long as the weather dries the clothes in a timely manner. And when it's hot, it takes no longer than the dryer does.

Monday, August 6, 2012

When the Walls Talk

My family recently began a basement renovation. Our bathroom there was seriously a closet. The sink was a very old and stained wall mounted fixture, much like one you can find in a public restroom. You could wash your hands in said sink while still seated on the toilet. The shower stall was made of some sort of metal (not kidding) that had been painted on the INSIDE. When we first moved in our home and began using the shower, the paint began to peel. The peeling paint revealed multiple layers of paint, and I'd like to understand WHY a person would be compelled to paint their shower. Especially with paint that is obviously not meant to be used inside a functioning shower. We promptly finished the shower in our upstairs bathroom (previously just a bathtub) and abandoned the monster in the basement.

In addition to the tiny/non-functional bathroom, our family room was quite cramped and there were some heating issues (read- "no heat in the basement") which lead us to hang blankets over doorways and using a space heater to try and keep warm during our time spent down there.

My father-in-law saw the issues we had in our basement. Sensing that it was time to make some changes for the better, he generously volunteered to do the renovation. He drew up some plans, which included moving some walls, enlarging the family room and bathroom (and in so doing, enlarging a bedroom), and fixing the heating issues.

The first step in doing such a project would be to gut the place. Take down the existing walls (which, by the way, contained ZERO insulation) and get rid of the fixtures that simply would not serve adequate for my family. Tear down found us some very interesting things. Want to know what? I know you do.

Within the walls and ceiling were several things that we couldn't quite figure out. The walls in our basement were certainly trying to tell us something. What exactly they'd like to say, however, I'm still not quite sure of.
We found a bottle of Brandy, a pair of antlers (six point deer, I believe), a speaker from the drive-in movie theater, a roasting skewer, and a "No Parking" sign. All inside the walls and ceiling! Why? My husband believes the speaker was hidden in the ceiling because a kid who lived here stole it and then couldn't display it proudly without getting in trouble. But the Brandy in the wall? How would you get back to it? It was sheet-rocked in! The "No Parking" sign is a real one (I can't find it to take a pic, though), but it has never been hung on a street post (no tool markings). There was also a coffee can (the picture of which I cannot find) that was retro-fitted to create part of a heating duct. No wonder we had heating problems. They were trying to make coffee with the heater!

So, I'm not sure what kind of story my house is trying to tell me. But it sure was interesting, nonetheless! If you have a story that could link up all the hidden junk we found, feel free to leave me a comment and share what you think.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Recovering Charles

I just finished reading a book that I borrowed from my mom, by Jason F. Wright, Recovering Charles. It is a really great read, and I'd like to recommend it. Check it out at

Luke Millward is a photographer. Hurricane Katrina has just hit the south, and he's compelled by the footage on TV. He can't seem to get enough of it, until one day, he gets a phone call. It's a man from New Orleans, calling to tell him his father (whom he hasn't spoken to in a few years) is missing. This man is asking Luke to come from New York to help find his father in the aftermath of the disaster.

Jason F. Wright also wrote the Christmas Jars (and several other titles) and if you've read that, then you'll know his characters are relatable. It doesn't really feel like fiction. These are real people, with real emotions and real stories. This story pulls you in from the beginning, and makes you want to find the ending just as much as Luke does. I really appreciate an author who can write characters whom you feel like you already know and care about.

I really enjoyed this book, and I finished it in less than a week. I hope you can enjoy it, too.